Social Tool, Tool!


There I was, on the train, on the way into work this morning and I’m listening to a couple of chaps in the next seat talk about plans for a new online marketing strategy…

Yes. That’s right. ON A TRAIN.

So before we even GET to the whole ‘Social’ thing that I’m about to rant about, let’s just take a moment to appreciate the stupidity… or maybe even the complete lack of joined-up thinking that goes hand-in-hand with talking about this kind of stuff on PUBLIC transport…


Done that? Goooooooood.

Anyway – so here they were, these two suits fellas, talking about ‘Social Networking’ and how they ‘really need to get involved’ to make this campaign really work.
Well I say ‘they’ it was more like just the older bloke telling the younger bloke, what he needed to get their new campaign off the ground…
The older chap opens:

“Look, I need you to tell me about what you can do with YouTube?”

“I can upload videos…”

“Yes. I’ve seen that. But what can we do with YouTube?”

“Aside from upload the videos, well…er…”


“We have…er…”

“Listen, we’ve got to hit millions of people! Millions. We won’t do it without YouTube.”

And so the conversation carried on, covering such things like MySpace, Facebook and even Flickr but all the while keeping the same familiar pattern, (I’m actually quite surprised I didn’t hear the classic phrase ‘Right, we need a viral’… I may’ve said something at that point)

Anyway, this whole thing got me thinking. I wrote a post about Mobile Advertising for Mobile Industry Review, (then SMS Text News), a few months back outlining the need for complete alignment when dipping your toe into the mobile ad space.
This one was easy, at least this time round they had some kind of idea as to what they were doing…
These two guys on the 9:53 out of Paddington however? Not a hope.

YouTube, to use the example given, is not something you ‘do’, it’s something you use, (like a tool, see).

The best way for me to illustrate this is with cups.


If your boss turns to you one day and says “I want to do something with YouTube”, what do you say back?

Well look, you’re clearly happy to put anything into the cup as it were; be it lemonade, orange juice, blackcurrant or whatever – But your boss, or whoever’s running the marketing team needs to tell you what that is. The cup is another way of presenting your content. It will speak to different people in different ways. I would not use a cup for anything other than what it is good for… and that is drinking, nay – consuming!

On top of that you also need to ensure that the same blackcurrant you’re using in your cups is being used in the other dispensers that you have at your disposal. I mean, you have other cups right? Right?!
Yeah you do… The banner ads, the traditional print, the skyscrapers, the tv/radio spots etc…
Them. Yeah. They’re cups too.

So when asked, “…like flickr, like YouTube”…etc, they’re just a variation on the cup.

You can help them hold it, you can help others drink from it but what you can’t do is fill it.
Give people some cool stuff inside the cup, don’t just give them the cup.
On it’s own, the cup is nothing.

With planning, time and effort from all parties – the cup can become an integral part of a much larger picnic.

Social Cups, Hugh would be proud.

Stupid, Stupid Barclays

or – “A rant about convergence, or lack thereof”

Right, if you’re reading this and you have any idea of the kind of person I am, you know how I feel about my mobile phone. You know I love it, you know I’m never far from it and you know that above all, if I could, I’d use it for just about everything.

This last point is the kicker for me.

To give you a rough idea of what I’m talking about, here are just some of the things I use my phone for:

  • Contacts/Address Book
  • Calendar/Diary
  • Gaming
  • Email
  • Internet
  • MP3/Music Player
  • Camera
  • Video Camera
  • Directions/Maps/GPS
  • TV/Video Player
  • Live-Blogging
  • Micro-Blogging
  • Tube Map
  • Instant Messaging
  • Etc etc…

Because I carry my N95 8GB (pictured above) in my pocket, quite a small device take note, I don’t have to carry an iPod, Nintendo, TV, Camera, TomTom, PC, map… the list goes on.

All of these things (and many others) are no longer clogging up my pockets thanks to this rather awesome little handset.


Well this is, in part, down to the innovations of the team at Nokia. However it is also owes a lot to my own personal preference; Nokia have enabled me to do all these things and have by doing so have also empowered me to stop carrying all of the other devices.

I don’t like carrying lots of things in my pockets. At best, I will leave the house with my keys, my phone and my bankcard. That’s it. Only those three items.

Right then. Keeping all of the above in mind, let’s direct our attention for a moment to this thing:

– Barclays PIN Sentry –

Could it be…

My First Calculator?
The latest toy from The Early Learning Centre?
Or maybe even a band new phone maybe?

No. No. And No.

That, there, is Barclays ‘PIN Sentry’.

Excusing the ridiculous name for a second, let’s take a look at what it’s actually for.
Any time I want to log into MY internet banking, I have to put my Debit Card into that contraption, enter my PIN number and then, and only then, will my bank allow me to log into MY account.

First up, the whole sodding point of having internet banking, to my mind, is so that I can access my account from anywhere where there is INTERNET.
Until they truly crack mobile internet banking (and trust me – on the basis of this – we’re going to be waiting a long time), then this really is the only option for anyone wanting to access their account anywhere… (short of actually going into a branch, but really, does anyone do that anymore?).

Second, I get the whole security aspect of it all, really I do, but do I actually need this thing as well?!
I already have a unique 12 digit unique ID number, an 8 digit secret password and a five digit passcode.

Do I really NEED more security?

Surely there has to be line drawn between security to entry and barriers to entry? Right?


Next point – it is clear, from the points laid out above, that I like convergence. I want one device to do everything for me…
…Of convergence, I am a fan.

I do not want to be carrying that stupid, stupid piece of plastic around with me everywhere I go just in case I might want to log in to my internet banking. Idiots. Really.

Just no joined-up thinking whatsoever.

Finally… This post has been a long time coming; Barclays started introducing this towards the end of last year, (as did a few other banks, so I’ve been told), so I apologise if it seems a bit late in the day as it were… But yes, the final point –

I’ve actually spoken to Barclays about this and I’ve outlined my point of view. As a result, I have now been opted-out of this new system and my PIN Sentry is happily gathering dust in a draw somewhere in my room.


If you’re a Barclays customer and you find this idea as absurd as I do then I would strongly urge you to do the same.
Call your bank, tell them they’re idiots and get yourself opted out. The opportunity cost of this, just so you know, means that you will be unable to set up any ‘new payees’ via your online banking. I’m happy to live with this. I don’t often pay new people and if and when the situation does arise I can simply call the bank and get them to do it for me.

Here endeth the rant.


On a lighter note – have been working my backside off lately, (super exciting new project for SpinVox), so next weekend I’m going to head off down to Pilton to a little music festival you may’ve heard of…

Next weekend I’m headed back to Glastonbury.

And I can’t WAIT!


Read about my Glastonbury Mobile Geek plans over on SMS Text News and yes, you guessed it, just like last year, I’ll be blogging the whole thing from my mobile phone, (although I doubt very much I’ll be doing any internet banking).